Can We Help? A Guide to Supporting Children and Families in Early Years Services

Lane, F. (2012). Can We Help? A Guide to Supporting Children and Families in Early Years Services.
Children grow and develop as part of an interconnected system of family and community relationships. If the family or community environment becomes a source of stress for children, it can impact on their development and overall well-being. Young children are particularly vulnerable to family-related stresses as they are highly dependent on their parents to provide a stable, nurturing environment in which their physical, emotional and other needs can be met. Supporting families is the most effective way to support children. The role of early childhood care and education (ECCE) or early years services in supporting families centres on the early learning and development needs of children. It takes place within a framework that recognises parents as the most important people in children’s lives, and their most influential educators. To be effective, early years services need to work in partnership with parents, using an approach that supports parent-child relationships and strengthens the capacity of parents to respond effectively to their child’s learning and development needs. Where families need additional support, early years services are in a unique position to empower parents through information and social support, and also to act as a bridge between families and other services in the community. Research also tells us that early years services can play a key role in supporting the well-being of children and families experiencing poverty and social exclusion, through the provision of quality learning environments for children in conjunction with a range of needs-led parenting and family support services.